Ben Creed joined the California Housing Partnership in 2019. As a Senior Housing Finance Consultant, he provides financial consulting, technical assistance and training to our nonprofit and government partners. Ben has experience with 9% and 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits, tax-exempt private activity bonds, and funding sources from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Home Loan Bank, the California Department of Housing and Community Development, several localities including Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles, and conventional private lenders. He was promoted from Housing Finance Consultant in 2022.
Prior to joining the Partnership, Ben worked as a project manager at West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation, where he contributed to eight developments in the cities of Los Angeles and West Hollywood with over 400 affordable homes for households with low incomes and special needs. He previously worked in operations and finance at The California Wellness Foundation in Los Angeles and the Charles H. Revson Foundation in New York City. A graduate of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Housing Development Training Institute (HDTI), Ben has an M.A. in Spanish Language and Translation from NYU Madrid and a B.A. in Urban Studies and Hispanic Studies from Vassar College. He was raised in Mitchell-Lama affordable housing in New York City.
Blanca E. de la Cruz
Blanca E. de la Cruz joined the California Housing Partnership in 2014. As Sustainable Housing Program Director, she develops and runs programs to increase our Southern California partners’ access to energy efficiency and other resources contributing to the long-tern sustainability and preservation of housing affordable to low-income people. She leads advocacy work involving energy efficiency and renewable programs in the Los Angeles region. She also assists with the Partnership’s Green Rental homes Energy Efficiency Network (GREEN) membership and GREEN Newsletter. Blanca recently led an On-Bill Payment (OBR) Financing test pilot in Southern California that incorporated utility incentive programs. In addition, Blanca provides support in implementing the Low Income Weatherization Program for large multifamily buildings statewide as well as the Partnership’s ongoing advocacy efforts in sustainable housing. Prior to joining the Partnership, Blanca worked at the Community Development Commission of the County of Los Angeles (CDC) for five years where she managed the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for Affordable Multifamily Rental Housing. She also coordinated CDC’s sustainable development initiatives. Prior to joining CDC, Blanca was a Project Manager at East LA Community Corporation.
Blanca has more than 10 years of experience in the field of affordable housing. Blanca received an M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA and a B.A. in International Development Studies and Latin American Literature from UC Berkeley.
Chad Horsford joined the California Housing Partnership in 2018. As a Senior Housing Finance Consultant, he provides financial consulting, technical assistance and training to our nonprofit and government partners. Chad has experience working with a variety of federal and local funding sources, including Low Income Housing Tax Credits, HUD Section 202 financing, AHSC, IIG, and LA City and County funding sources.
Prior to joining the Partnership, Chad worked in the affordable housing field for over four years, first in acquisitions at Abode Communities and then in project management at PATH Ventures. During that time, he contributed to the acquisition and financing of over 500 units of affordable housing throughout the Southern California region. In his acquisitions role, Chad analyzed and structured acquisition/rehab and new construction opportunities across the state. Prior to working in affordable housing development, he worked at the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity where he used data analysis to support social movement research on equity, immigration, and environmental justice issues.
Chad earned his master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA with a concentration in Community Economic Development and Housing, and holds a B.A. in Sociology and Public Policy Analysis from Pomona College.
Deanna Bligh joined the California Housing Partnership in 2015. As Director, Financial Consulting, she provides financial consulting, technical assistance and training to our nonprofit and government partners throughout Southern California. Deanna is knowledgeable in the use of project-based operating subsidies, including project-based Section 8 and Shelter Plus Care. She is also experienced with at-risk preservation and secondary market securitizations. Throughout her career, Deanna has been involved in the development of approximately 1,300 units of affordable housing totaling approximately $150 million in financing. She was promoted from Senior Housing Finance Consultant in 2022.
Prior to joining the Partnership, Deanna developed low-income housing as Senior Project Manager for A Community of Friends where she managed the development of permanent supportive housing projects serving special-needs populations utilizing Low Income Housing Tax Credits, tax-exempt bonds, and various federal and local financing programs for four years.
Deanna holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Finance from James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA. She has completed the LISC Advanced Housing Development Training Institute and is certified as a LEED Green Associate.
Genise Choy joined the California Housing Partnership in December 2020. As a Housing Finance Consultant, she provides financial consulting, technical assistance and training to our nonprofit and government partners. She has experience with both acquisition/rehab and new construction projects, utilizing Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, tax-exempt bond financing, Rental Assistance Demonstration First and Second Components, the Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program, various state funding sources and green incentives, as well as project-based Section 8 and HUD-VASH vouchers.
Prior to joining the Partnership, Genise was a project manager at Chinatown Community Development Center in San Francisco for four years, where she contributed to the development of over 600 units for families, veterans, and formerly homeless individuals. In addition, she produced the white paper that presently guides the City of Oakland’s approach to creating and preserving artist housing and workspaces. She also worked with Barbara Sokoloff Associates, a community development consulting firm in Providence, RI, for two years, helping develop affordable housing and community spaces throughout southern New England.
Genise holds a Master of City Planning and Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Real Estate from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. in Art from Swarthmore College.
Michelle Espinosa Coulter
Michelle Espinosa Coulter joined the California Housing Partnership in 2020. As a Senior Housing Finance Consultant, she provides financial consulting, technical assistance and training to our nonprofit and government partners. Michelle has over 20 years of professional experience including 14 years in affordable housing development and nine years in audit and assurance. She has direct experience with a wide range of affordable housing finance tools including Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, tax-exempt bond financing, and a variety of public funding programs administered at the local, state, and federal levels. Her projects have ranged from new construction to adaptive reuse, and have served families, seniors, and special needs populations. Throughout her career, Michelle has contributed to the development of more than 1,800 units of affordable housing with total financing exceeding $800 million.
Prior to joining the Partnership, Michelle worked with Meta Housing Corporation for nearly 10 years and rose from Project Manager to become Meta’s Director of Artist Housing. She also worked as a Project Manager with A Community of Friends developing supportive housing, and at Livable Places developing affordable homeownership opportunities. Prior to development, Michelle provided assurance services with industry-affiliates Low Income Investment Fund and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. A five year career in public accounting preceded her time at the Federal Reserve Bank.
Michelle holds dual master’s degrees in Urban Planning from UCLA and in Accounting from Texas A&M University. Her B.B.A. is from Texas A&M.
Paul Beesemyer joined the California Housing Partnership in 2000. As Managing Director, Financial Consulting, Paul oversees all of the Partnership’s Southern California housing finance consultants and assists Southern California’s nonprofit housing community and public agencies in the areas of affordable housing finance, real estate development, preservation of at-risk housing, and general housing policy. Paul was promoted from Southern California Director in 2022. His career in housing began in 1996 and since then he has conducted numerous seminars and trainings and authored several publications, including The Tax Credit Turns Fifteen, a risk analysis of California’s early Tax Credit portfolio. In addition, Paul has worked with the City of Los Angeles Housing Department to develop a comprehensive policy for the preservation of at-risk housing and has advised the City on the creation and implementation of a new preservation ordinance.
Prior to joining the California Housing Partnership, Paul developed affordable housing as senior project manager for the Los Angeles Community Design Center, where he managed affordable housing and community development projects serving families, seniors, and various special-needs populations. He is knowledgeable in the use of a wide range of community development financing tools, including Low Income Housing Tax Credits, tax-exempt bond financing, and a variety of public funding programs administered at the local, state, and federal levels.
Paul received a Bachelor of Arts in Landscape Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley.
Rachael Diaz joined the California Housing Partnership in July 2020. As Sustainable Housing Program Manager, she assists in outreach and implementation of sustainable housing programs to increase access to clean energy resources for low-income communities. Rachael was promoted from Program Associate in 2022.
Prior to joining the Partnership, Rachael worked as a program coordinator at the Center for Sustainable Energy where she assisted in the development and implementation of the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) program. Rachael also served as an Innovation Fellow at the University of San Diego, where she managed student led start-up initiatives designed to address systemic issues in the local San Diego community.
Rachael earned her B.S. in Political Science with minors in Sociology and Psychology from the University of San Diego in 2018.
Sherin Bennett joined the California Housing Partnership’s Southern California team in 2016. As Associate Director, Financial Consulting – Housing Finance Training, she provides financial consulting, technical assistance, and training to our nonprofit and government partners and supports the Partnership’s training programs. She was promoted from Senior Housing Finance Consultant in 2020.
Prior to joining the Partnership, Sherin was an underwriter with Chase Community Development Banking in New York City and Los Angeles, where she underwrote over $200 million in construction and permanent loans, financing over 2,350 units of affordable housing in six states. Sherin was a Housing Fellow for the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development and the NYC Housing Development Corporation from 2011-2013. She closed construction financing on one of the first HUD RAD/IRP conversions in the nation and created a database and methodologies to track funding sources and development outcomes for then-mayor Michael Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan.
Sherin earned a Master of Science in Public and Urban Policy from the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment (The New School, NYC) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Stage Management from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Tony Kouot joined the California Housing Partnership in 2022. As a Housing Finance Consultant, he provides financial consulting, technical assistance, and training to our nonprofit and government partners. He has experience with LIHTC, tax exempt bonds, and various State and Local financing programs in support of Affordable and Permanent Supportive Housing projects. Prior to joining the Partnership, Tony worked as a Senior Project Manager for Brilliant Corners. As a Senior Project Manager, Tony acquired and developed supportive housing throughout California for individuals experiencing homeless/formerly homeless and individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities. This included applying for and obtaining public funding and working with various local, regional, county, and state agencies.
Tony is a graduate of the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) Housing Development Training Institute (HDTI). He received a B.S. in Public Policy, Management, and Planning with an emphasis in Real Estate Development from the University of Southern California. Tony is also certified with the Project Management Institute as a Project Management Professional.